July 1, 2021
Dance nights are a big deal at camp.
I always feel the need to explain how a camp dance differs from the dances we had in junior high and high school “back in the day”. I have distinct memories of groups of kids gathered in packs all discussing who should ask whom to dance. A few confident people would ask people early in the process, but for the most part it was an odd amalgam of awkwardness and whispering. Lot of looking, not so much dancing.
The challenge of the school dance is the false belief that dancing is an activity exclusively done with a partner.
Camp dances really bear little semblance to these dances from our memories.
There are line dances, group dances, power-walking, mock exercising and other general silliness. As I scanned the floor last night, I saw the following: entire cabins of 8 year-old girls dancing with their counselors or a favorite Senior Camper; a group of 10 year-old boys showing off some particular move to each other (the worm is one, another is a somewhat frantic display that involves lots of rapid foot and arm movement all happily divorced from any rhythm or beat); 30 campers and counselor doing a particular line dance and a 50 person conga line.
Perhaps most notably is the fact that virtually everyone is in costume. I think the costumes help the campers realize that is this not a “normal” dance, so any preconceptions dissolve.
Yesterday, we had the “Orange You Glad You’re at Camp” dance. Each summer, we have at least one color-themed dance.
Parents will occasionally ask why we do this. The considerate (and mostly honest) answer is that they are much easier for parents to shop for – just get something with the designated color. One year we had a “Space Pirate” dance and few parents had the slightest clue what that meant. [Note: I was among those who were confused, but I have learned to trust the instincts of our younger directors. The Space Pirate was a bizarre confluence of costumes, but also a very fun time.]
But there is one more reason for the color dances.
I am amused by the clashing colors. You might think that a “color dance” would yield some uniformity of color. Actually, it is the opposite. Think about the dangers of “two-toning” – the phenomenon of wearing two versions of the same color (think blue) and suddenly realizing that they do not go together at all.
Now make the “two-toning” into “twenty-toning”.
Few colors vary the way orange seems to vary.
With this in mind, I share my silly indulgence with the accompanying photo. If you can get past the clashing, I hope you can share my amusement.